Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a collection of disorders that include pain involving the muscles of mastication, temporomandibular joint and any associated oral facial structure. It’s also known as Costen’s syndrome, TMJ dysfunction and craniomandibular osteopathy.
Many people will report pain when opening the mouth or chewing, others will report difficulty speaking or singing, and some will report pain in the face or temples. They may describe a clicking, popping or grating sound. If jaw movement does not influence the pain, then another diagnosis should be sought.
TMJ disorders can be subdivided into two major categories: intracapsular disorder and masticatory muscle disorders. Intracapsular disorders include derangements of the condor disc complex, structural incapability of articular surface and inflammatory joint disorder. Patients may complain of sharp, sudden or intense pain. When the joint is rested, the pain will resolve.
Two major symptoms of the function of TMJ problems are pain and dysfunction. Patients with masticatory muscle disorders usually have pain, which ranges in severity.
Muscle pain associated with a TMJ disorder isn’t always localized or correlated with increased activity. Acute malocclusion can result from a sudden change in the resting length of the muscle that controls the jaw and this could also be involved with complaints of the difference in the inclusional contacts of the teeth. Malocclusion is a result of the muscle disorder. Do not treat the malocclusion.
Intraoral pain is typically related to dental disease. Headaches may be related to dental problems. Some of the syndromes include atypical odontalgia, glossodynia and burning mouth syndrome.
For more information on extraoral, intraoral and non-neuropathic facial pain, listen to the podcast above.